The day has finally come. We paid for the 6 shipping containers that will soon become our home. In the last month we poured through books, websites and blogs to figure out if this was something we thought we could actually pull off. The main obstacle I found was that there are really only two kinds of websites related shipping container building design- the kind that focus on using containers as storage sheds or makeshift offices, and the polarly opposite kind that feature designer homes developed by high end architectural firms. This made it difficult for us to conceptualize our modest home in terms of our unique needs and vision.
What made the decision easier for me was that we actually ran across (quite by accident) a shipping container building in our neighborhood that is currently under construction. Using 11 containers stacked 2 high, the space will be used primarily as an office building. After touring the property and briefly consulting with Vic Cherubini (President of Epic Software) and a few of the contractors, I realized this was something we could do, too. And it was Vic that encouraged us to write a blog. He confirmed that there are very few websites dedicated to the average Joe who wants to turn these containers into a home without the use of a team of engineers and architects. Check out his blog about his shipping container project at www.epicsoftware.com.
Another obstacle we faced is that the country is currently experiencing a shortage of these shipping containers- especially the 40′ high cubes we’re looking for. Because the price of steel has sky rocketed, the Chinese are reusing their containers instead of their old method of just purchasing new ones to get their exports out faster. The result is that the Houston shipyard hasn’t been selling any surplus containers for more than three months. This has driven up the price considerably. Last year the average used container cost around $2,000. After getting quotes from $3,800- $5,400 we ended up finding them for $3,400. This upset our budget substancially. After consulting with a few dealers though, we soon realized the price is only going to continue to rise for at least a few more years, so we had to make the decision to move foward or shift gears.
The consensus between us was that we can, and should, move foward. Besides being a much quicker building method (the framing is already done!) the possibilites are endless when it comes to the layout and design. And the idea of using a recycled materials in our dream home fits prefect with our lifestyle and core belief system. And so it goes with the first phase of our project.
I’m feeling a bit nervous. We have so much work ahead of us. Feelings of joy and a little fear of the unknown swim in my consciousness. Paying for the containers today really solidified our intent- there is no turning back now!